Student Speak: Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO”

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EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: Consistently unpredictable, Lil Nas X invariably makes headlines with whimsical fashion and media choices.

Parashar Bharadwaj, Writing Apprentice

With the recent release of Lil Nas X’s song “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name),” listeners have taken to social media to both bash and support the famed “Old Town Road” artist. The music video features a provocative performance regarding Lil Nas X’s sexuality, encouraging LGBTQ+ representation and aiming to clear religious stigma surrounding the community. But the artist also makes use of satanic symbols throughout the video, including depictions of the devil, which many Christians believe mock their religion. Reigning on top of YouTube’s trending page and now No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it has been the center of a social media storm since its release. Is the controversy warranted?

Sanika Kolur (10)

Many people are completely missing the point of his video. I don’t think any of the backlash he is receiving is justifiable, because he is simply embracing what some people continuously tell him will happen anyways, [that people of his sexual orientation will go to hell]. This controversy is definitely about his sexuality rather than his music, and many can’t seem to grasp the idea that not everyone is going to, or for this matter can, change themselves to abide by certain interpretations of religious texts. I’m not sure if he really glorified Satan (in his music video or his shoes) as much as he just accepted his “fate,” which many somehow still had a problem with. This situation definitely shined a light on how differently our society values our freedoms, like freedom of expression and freedom of religion, and really brings the question of whether some people should be reevaluating their religion-based morals and reactions.

Ryan Chaudhri (11) 

I think his music video was both unique but also really weird. I kind of understand the backlash, especially from the Christian community, but I myself don’t really care. I think if people don’t agree with the video, they should just ignore it and go on with their day rather than spend their time to spread hate. The problem resides in both his sexuality and his music video. There is definitely a surge of homophobia being shown as a result of the satanism that was demonstrated. Again, I don’t really care about his portrayal of Satan, and I think he should be able to believe in and express whatever he wants. 

Ayushi Das (10)

I thought his music video was well shot, and the visuals were really nice! The song is pretty catchy too. I think the backlash he is facing is unwarranted. He made the music video in response to the way certain religious people view gay men, and his music video is just a sketch of the type of hate he receives for being openly homosexual. I think people are most upset that he has chosen to react to the homophobia he faces by turning it into art instead of being silent. Him being gay is the root of all the hate he gets regardless of how it is presented. I am not Christian, so I don’t really care about his music and choices.

Andrew Penrod (10)

Lil Nas X’s music video was taking an issue at hand and blowing it way out of proportion in order to provoke criticism and outrage. According to many personal quotes from Lil Nas X himself, he welcomed and encouraged the outrage, which is why the backlash he received was completely justified. Whenever anyone mentions religion nowadays, it’s rejected and heavily criticized as ignorance for simply having an opinion, so you can’t expect the side that is constantly bombarded with criticism and outrage to not return the favor. LGBTQ rights is definitely an issue in today’s society, but the music video had absolutely no intent to try and inform or bring people together, but to instead further the divide between religion and the LGBTQ community, so it has more to do with the music and obscene depictions within the video than his sexuality. 

Gil Lazar (10)

I feel that it was a bit inappropriate, however, I believe it was meant in support of those a part of the LGBTQ community. They may express their sexual orientation more naturally after seeing Lil Nas X’s video. As many other music videos have sexual content of two opposite genders, Lil Nas X’s video normalizes sexual content of two of the same genders. I don’t believe the backlash should be received, but sadly, it should be expected with the world we live in. There are people who are homophobic and don’t support the normalization of this type of content. However, the amount of backlash the video has received is unacceptable, and people should be able to express themselves freely no matter what they are in support of.

Soumil Joshi (12)

I don’t really like Lil Nas X’s new music video. I think the backlash he is receiving is justified, since he is offending a religious majority in the United States. His sexuality isn’t the problem, at least in my eyes, although some in America would probably disagree. Yet his depiction of Satan in his music videos is likely offensive to Christians. If he had offended another religious group, there would likely be a general outcry against it, so it shouldn’t be allowed against Christians. That being said, I understand how Lil Nas X is trying to expose the hate he gets from Christians simply through religious differences and trying to spread the importance of morality and empathy in his videos. However, I believe the execution was a little brash.